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Topic: belgian rv beginners in america

Posted By: ericvh on 08/18/09 05:20am

We spend regularly our holidays in U.S.A. Essentialy in KOA campgrounds in camping cabins all over your wonderfull country. In a few years, I'll be retired ( i'm a federal police officer in Belgium)and we plan to buy a ROCKWOOD 2604SS ULTRA LITE and continue to cruise the US about 2 or 3 months every year. We never owned any rv and for that purpose , I need to ask a few questions:
1- knowing that the ROCKWOOD 2604SS has a UVW of 5228lb and aGVWR of 6629lb, what kind of car do I need to tow this rig. Can somebody give me and example of cars ( make and type) and motor power.
2- Between two stays in the US, we'll need storage for the car and the rv. Can somebody give me informations about storages, web sites, etc...
3- We always been delighted while we stayed at KOA campgrounds. Is there other campgrounds ( chains or private) as good as them.
Thank you for any of you answer.
(PS: sorry for my "bad" english, but I normaly speek french).

Posted By: RRUGG on 08/18/09 05:58am

You'll need either a pickup truck, large suv, or full size van to tow that trailer. No cars built anymore with that type of towing capability. I'd suggest visiting the websites for Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge plus Edmunds to research various vehicles capabilities. Edmunds has vehicle reviews by their own people and also owner reviews. My own opinion is that, while KOAs are generally pretty nice, I believe that they are overpriced. There are MANY public and private campgrounds/rv parks that are just as nice and often at a lower cost. Each state has a tourism bureau where you can request camping info. Trailer Life and Woodall's both have very large campground books with prices, details, and ratings. I think your English is just fine. In fact, it's a lot better than many who have been born and raised here. No opinion on how you speak it but you write it very well.

2009 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 1500 4x4 5.3L
2011 Kodiak 281RLGS travel trailer
2011 Egg Camper
2010 Chrysler Town & Country
Good Sam life members
Bob & Grace professional retirees

Camped in 49 states. Missing Hawaii.

Posted By: Joy on 08/18/09 06:19am

I agree totally with RRUGG. As for storage facilities, their rates will vary widely mostly depending upon where they are. It is more expensive in/near larger cities, less expensive in more rural areas. I would suspect that the crime rate is lower in the smaller towns, tho, so leaving a rig there long term might be safer. On the other hand, airports are fewer in rural areas. Around here, storage would probably run from $50 to $75 p mo for open areas. It also depends upon whether you want covered facilities or open - open is cheaper, covered is safer and protects the rig from weather. Do you want to return to the same place each time or do you want to wander the country and then leave the rig wherever you end your trip? All things to think about.

See ya' down the road!

Don-SCPO USN Ret.Corpsman
'06 42' Allegro Bus DP
'06 Saturn Vue


Posted By: I am still wayne_tw on 08/18/09 06:26am

Your English is quite good.

You will need a pick up truck to pull that trailer. A Ford F150, Dodge 1500, or a Chevrolet/GMC 1500 will do it. If it is just you and your wife, then a regular cab with a cover over the truck bed to store stuff will work just fine. The previous suggestion about checking the manufacturer's websites is a good one.

Regarding camping, I find the State and National Parks have much better campgrounds than private ones such as KOA. Trailer Life and Woodalls have campground directories that list almost every available campground. They are well worth researching during a trip.

* This post was edited 08/19/09 06:44am by an administrator/moderator *

Posted By: amxpress on 08/18/09 06:32am

Welcome to the Forum!
To answer your questions:
1) The vehicles mentioned above are OK, but you have further options. Toyota and Nissan both make a large SUV and pick up truck that will safely, comfortably and reliably tow your trailer.
2)Look in the local yellow pages for under "Recreational Vehicles-Storage" and check out what's available in your area. Shop around for price. Or maybe someone on here knows of a good storage area nearby. It has to be secured, though.
3)Trailer Life and Woodalls make a campground directory that rates thousands of campgrounds in North America. There is also a good website to see what other people think of a paticular campground:
KOA campgrounds are usually good, but they can be expensive and there are numerous private campgrounds and state parks that are great.
Best of luck and hope to see you at a campground.
My wife's family is Belgian, she sure likes the beer from there!

2007 Dodge RAM 2500 Quad Cab w/6.7 Cummins
2013 Palomino Columbus 320RS
Reese 15K Pro Series manual slide
Firestone Air Bags
Champion 3500 genny
M.I.L still at the zoo. (in the serpent cages)

Posted By: Finally Fulltiming on 08/18/09 07:06am

Excellent advice above. As to KOA, admittedly I'm one of their non-fans. First because they're expensive and secong because I don't need or want a pool, kids game room, miniature golf, free coffee or any of the other amenities they generally offer. If you do, that's fine, but if not, be sure to check out our beautiful state and national parks and private campgrounds.

As to RV towing & storage, you might want to look into rentals. If you're only going to use the equipment for 2 or 3 months a year, it might be a better economic choice. Maybe rent a small RV & tow a compact car? Eliminates storage & maintenance expenses & headaches.

Glad to hear you enjoy our country & glad to have you here. Bet you're counting the days to retirement!

Posted By: Keith M on 08/18/09 07:59am

I winter in the desert SW and have seen a number of Europeans, mostly German who own rigs in the USA and travel for 2-3 months typically staying in Arizona during the winter. A new 3/4 ton tow vehicle like the Chevrolet Silverado, Nissan Titan, Ford Superduty or Toyota could easily cost over $30k. If you were willing to go used you could buy a pretty decent rig for less than half. My recommendation would be a used Chevrolet Silverado with the 6 litre gas engine.

Most people buy a fifth wheel trailer rather than a travel trailer for extended "wintering" The exception is when people are hauling quads, dogs or other stuff and need to have full use of the bed of a truck. I would go with a fifth wheel unless you plan on hauling stuff.

As far as storage there are storage yards just about anywhere in the desert areas of California and Arizona. Last winter I saw a storage yard charging $30 per month in Salton City, California. I think $50-$100 per month would be more common especially closer to a major airport. The most common destination airport would be Phoenix, followed by Tucson and maybe Palm Springs, CA.

Posted By: frankdamp on 08/18/09 08:12am

Rent for 2-3 months every year? You'll spend enough to have bought a very nice motorhome in no time.

We looked into renting for a 10-day trip next month, considering a 1500-mile trip in Idaho, Montana Eastern Oregon and Washington (from our home in Anacortes, WA). A 30' Class A from El Monte RV, with mileage pre-purchased and a pet fee (two Labradors) was $3,000. A 28' Class C from CruiseAmerica (I never bothered to find out if they allowed pets) would've been $2400. As we have owned a MH before, we didn't need to rent kitchenware, linens, etc., as we would take them from home.

That number is what you'd shell out to the rental company. Extrapolating that to a 90 day trip, you've spent almost $30,000. Fuel and campground fees are extra, but you'd have those with your own rig too.

From a European viewpoint (I'm an ex-pat Brit), the towing weight limitations in the US are ridiculouly low. I find it hard to believe that a 4500-lb Crown Victoria with a 6-litre engine can only tow 3500 lb. My Kia Sedona is also limited to 3500 lb, whereas the same vehicle in Europe is rated for 3000 Kg. My uncle used to tow an 18' travel trailer with an Austin Camridge car - 1.5 Litre, 60 hp, and travelled extensively in Contiental Europe for many years without incident.

Unfortunately, the US weight limits are the law in many states, and you can get tickets with big fines for exceeding them.

I think you'd be better with a motorhome towing a small car for use around the places you camp. You'll see these referred to as "toads" in this forum. Renting a car where you find one to be necessary is also a viable way to get around for local sightseeing. Many forum members do this.

Come visit our part of the country, if you get the chance. It's absolutely gorgeous. Some people wonder why we even consider having a motor home as lots of people pay good money to visit our home area!

Frank Damp, DW - Eileen, pet - female Labrador (9 yrs old), location Anacortes, WA, retired RVers (since Dec 2014)

Posted By: kknowlton on 08/18/09 08:54am

Cars, rather than trucks or SUVs ("sport-utility vehicles") such as Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban, Toyota Sequoia, etc., generally have soft suspensions and have much lower ground clearance, making them less than ideal as tow vehicles for anything but small trailers. Europe generally doesn't have the size trailers we do. I agree that a truck or SUV, perhaps a used one, would be your best bet for towing a trailer big enough to spend a few months in. You would need to make sure that the vehicle is equipped for towing - not all trucks and SUVs are - and salesmen aren't always well-informed (or honest) about towing needs.

Despite being a trailer fan myself, I agree that a motorhome might be a better option. It will get slightly worse gas mileage than a truck & trailer, but you could get away with renting a car in the areas where you want to sightsee, rather than buying a "toad" as well. And when it comes to storage, you would have only one thing to store, rather than two (trailer & truck).

Although there are no guarantees, you might even consider buying a used motorhome when you arrive, and selling it when you leave - granted, it may take some time to sell, unless you're willing to take less for it than you might otherwise. But you'd save on the storage fees.

Regarding campgrounds, it depends what you enjoy in them. If you like having the pool, game room, laundry, clean bathrooms, etc., KOAs are often (but not always) a good bet. However, so are many other private campgrounds. You may want to invest in a good campground directory (Trailer Life or Woodalls are the most complete) when you arrive, as they have a ratings system that at least provides a way to judge campgrounds against each other by set standards.) We often use KOAs, but also enjoy state parks and occasionally other private campgrounds, depending on our needs & wants in a particular area. Sometimes I like having a clean, convenient laundry & clean bathhouse; other times I like more of a wilderness feel and am willing to have just an electric hookup. I'm a planner and like to have reservations, but we usually make them only on weekends, in popular tourist areas (like Yellowstone, for example), or if we have one specific campground in mind for a multi-day stay.

Posted By: TXcampingfamily on 08/18/09 08:43pm

Frank Damp-
I think you need to reread the OP. He is not renting, he is purchasing a Rockwood.

Gin & Mike + 2 TD (tax deductions)
2009 Fleetwood Fiesta Bunkhouse
2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Posted By: donn0128 on 08/18/09 08:57pm

ericvh wrote:

We spend regularly our holidays in U.S.A. Essentialy in KOA campgrounds in camping cabins all over your wonderfull country. In a few years, I'll be retired ( i'm a federal police officer in Belgium)and we plan to buy a ROCKWOOD 2604SS ULTRA LITE and continue to cruise the US about 2 or 3 months every year. We never owned any rv and for that purpose , I need to ask a few questions:
1- knowing that the ROCKWOOD 2604SS has a UVW of 5228lb and aGVWR of 6629lb, what kind of car do I need to tow this rig. Can somebody give me and example of cars ( make and type) and motor power.Not totally sure why you are looking at an ultralight RV versus a regular RV? Maybe you are thinking you will be able to tow it with a smaller vehicle?For only a two or three months visit every year, you will see a lot of damage to a tow vehicle and the RV from just sitting. 10 months of car/truck storage will end up costing you probably a battery and tires every two years or so. Is that a wise investment?
2- Between two stays in the US, we'll need storage for the car and the rv. Can somebody give me informations about storages, web sites, etc...Storqge costs will vary depending on where you park it, inside or outside storage. And if you are going to have someone winterize the trailer and check and run the tow vehicle. I can easily imagine 100 US dollars or more a month
3- We always been delighted while we stayed at KOA campgrounds. Is there other campgrounds ( chains or private) as good as them.
Thank you for any of you answer.It all depends on the type of camping you enjoy. Resort or primitive. There are membership campgrounds like Thousand Trails that you can buy resale from many sources like Ebay for only a few thousand dollars. They allow you to visit their parks for free or only a few dollars a night. Might be an option.
(PS: sorry for my "bad" english, but I normaly speek french).

I would suggest that you might want to want to investigate maybe getting another family or two to join you on this idea and each take maybe two or three months a year. Better use of the RV that way and save a lot on storage costs. Also look at where you will license and insure this equipment. This can make a big difference in cost.
You might want to also do a search using the function at the top of the page for people from the UK and Australia traveling by RV in the US. There is always posts on this subject.
Good luck in your research and enjoy your time here.

Don,Lorri,and Charlie Bear 2016
The Other Dallas

Posted By: frankdamp on 08/18/09 09:05pm

He's planning on buying a TT and towing with a car. He asked if renting a MH was feasible. The numbers I quoted were intended to show that renting a MH for extended periods was questionable.

In Europe, car tow ratings are much higher than here. My posting was intended to introduce the possibilty of getting a MH and maybe a toad.

As I indicated in my post, Europeans think nothing of towing a 6000 lb TT with a 2.0L family sedan. My 03 Kia Sedona is limited to 3500 lb towed weight in the US. The identcal vehicle in Europe is rated for 3000 Kg (6600 #). The Subaru Forester got the "Best tow vehicle" designation from the Caravan Club (British equivalent of Good Sam). Relatives back there regularly tow 8000 lb TTs with a Land Rover Defender with the old 2.0L 4-cyl, 90 hp engine becasue "it has 4-wheel drive". They consider the 4.0L Range Rover is good for 10,000 pounds for the same reason.

Many years ago, when I was a teenager, my family and I met a young couple in the Southampton area of the UK who had just towed a 40-foot park model trailer all the way from Northern Scotland behind a 1952 side-valve Morris Minor (1400 lb, wringing wet and maybe 30 horsepower on a good day). They'd made it without any mechanical breakdowns, but had averaged only about 18 mph for the time they were on the road.

I think the OP might get buffaloed by the US weight ratings for towing. My post was intended to introduce the possibility that a Class A and a toad might be better.

* This post was edited 08/18/09 09:14pm by frankdamp *

Posted By: Tom Trostel on 08/18/09 09:57pm

You might enjoy reading this blog written by a retired Dutch RV owner and his wife who shipped his Volvo wagon and BIOD trailer here. They are spending 6 months touring the USA and Canada.


Posted By: bsinmich on 08/19/09 06:43am

I would think a lot would depend on the time of year the OP wants to be here in the US. If his interest is winter in the warmer areas of the USA that would be one thing. If his interest is seeing other parts of the USA in other seasons then a different path should be taken. I would first determine which state would be the easiest to license and insure the vehicles. If touring the USA is the option I would look to someplace along the Mississippi river so you are able to travel in any direction and see different parts each trip.

1975 GMC Eleganza II & 1995 Roadtrek Versatile. Both old enough to vote and drink (gas)

Posted By: Jim Shoe on 08/19/09 07:21am

I don't have much to add to the previous posts, but I have a couple of suggestions for you between now and your retirement.
Start thinking about where you want your "home base" to be. Its often cheaper to fly into "middle America" than the major airports like NYC or Los Angeles, etc. Locations like Oklahoma City, OK or Kansas City, KS are in the central part of the US, and have good Interstate access. Certainly storage for your rig will be cheaper and you won't have to drive the same crowded Interstates every time you visit. Also, check out The Weather Channel for average high and low temperatures in any home base you might choose. Then check out The Yellow Pages for storage facilities in the area.
Once you've picked a couple of places, ask for help from the fine folks on this forum who live in the area. They can probably do a little research for you to help with your decision.
P.S. Your English is far better than my French. I only know a couple of words like "French Fry" and "Eiffel Tower".

Retired and visiting as much of this beautiful country as I can.

Posted By: Kirk on 08/19/09 03:30pm

First of all, is there some reason to limit yourself to one particular RV choice? The US has many different RVs and they are not all of the same quality or durability. I suggest that you may want to consider joining the RV Consumer Groupto get the help in determining what the quality of each different RV is.

The second thing is that you must have an address in the US in order to register and insure an RV here. That means somewhere that you can receive mail and legal notices for as long as you own the RV. I suggest that you check out the Escapees RV Club as a possible place to have your legal address. It is not possible to legally own and operate any vehicle in the USA without a legal address.

Next is the fact that it will cost far less to insure your RV and two vehicle if you also get a driving license from the state where you choose to maintain an address. It is not required that you do this, but it will save you a great deal of money.

Last of all, let me suggest that you start the process by taking the time to read this web page which was written by a citizen of the UK who is doing exactly what you are planning to do. Pre-planning will make things go much better. Do not make the mistake of just coming here and purchasing a vehicle, then finding out what you need to do in order to be able to use it.

I hope that this will be helpful. Vehicle ownership is not a simple thing and since the 9/11 incident, it has become much more complicated.

Good travelin! ........Kirk
Professional Volunteer
Fulltimer for 11 years,

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